Sneak Peek at Sixth Engine

This blog has been tracking all the news and progress about Sixth Engine since the ownership group first applied for the liquor license in summer 2010. Along the way we learned last August that the initial plans needed to be scaled back to fit solely within the historic firehouse building due to leasing issues. Despite the setback the restaurant is still an ample sized at roughly 3900 square feet.

Sixth Engine (website | Facebook) is now on the brink of a February opening. Over the weekend Jeremy Carman was gracious enough to provide me a tour inside the restaurant at 438 Massachusetts Ave NW. I’ve included some sneak peak pictures in this post. Please keep in mind that the interior of the buildout is not yet completed nor was the space staged before my visit.

Sixth Engine exterior, red doors on left serve as main entrance

Follow the jump for the photos:

The restaurant is divided into four distinct areas. Upon first walking in you will see the cozy bar. This area has 12 stools and tables that seat another dozen or so. The bar features eight taps which will pour drafts such as Guiness, Ommegang Hennepin, Hitachino Nest White Ale, Starr Hill Wee Heavy, Prohibition Speak Easy Ale, Lost Rhino Pilsner, Racer 5 IPA and Sixpoint.

The bar at Sixth Engine

Here you will notice the first of several patriotic eagle wood carvings that appear throughout the restaurant. These carvings were crafted by Jeremy’s grandfather many years ago and the family had them moth balled in storage. An eagle on the ladder company crest adorning the exterior of the old Adolph Cluss building inspired the Sixth Engine logo to feature wings. This in turn made it an easy decision for Jeremy to incorporate his grand father’s eagle carvings into the restaurant’s decor to add a custom personal touch.

Eagle carving in the bar area

In the rear of the first floor is a partially partitioned off dining room with ~36 seats at tables and banquettes. This area will not take reservations and will be seated on a first come first serve basis. Later in the evenings it will be spill over seating for the bar.

First floor dining room seating

Tin ceiling of the first floor dining room

A red hallway leads you to the bathroom and stairs to the second floor dining room. Another carving adorns the wall. During the tour the hallway was sparse but I was informed additional artwork would be hung later in the week.

The long red hallway

The second floor houses both the kitchen and an intimate 36 seat dining room. This dining area will be available for reservations and walk ups. The space offers the best of the old firehouse charm the building has to offer with the gigantic windows, restored original hardwood flooring and vaulted ceilings that leave all the industrial aspects exposed. Giant murals were painted then distressed on the brick walls. On the left is a faded ladder company logo and the right is a Norman Rockwell-esque scene of a fireman, boy and dog rushing off to a fire.

Finally another big selling point of Sixth Engine will be the outdoor patio seating. The front patio will provide 60 seats of al fresco dining. Typically outdoor seating operations will not begin in the early months after an establishment opens due to liquor license permitting protocols – but the outdoor seating should be present later in 2012.

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  1. 6

    FourthandEye says

    The ownership group did originally have larger ambitions to restore firehouse elements. I can’t speak specifically to the doors, but Sixth Engine inititally wanted to reinstall the fireman’s pole. Unfortunately the project was scaled down from 8000SF to 3900SF when the objective to merge with the adjacent retail space in 400 Mass fell through. Space became a premium and couldn’t be sacrificed to still achieve sufficient seating.